Old Orioles farmhands never die. They just come back to the organization. Over and over again.
Let's all welcome back utility infielder Eddy Garabito, who has signed a minor league contract with the Orioles and will report to Triple-A Ottawa. Garabito hit .307 in 42 games with the Rockies last season, and .306 at Triple-A Colorado Springs. He'll join pitcher John Stephens, first baseman Alejandro Freire, and infielder/outfielders Howie Clark and Napoleon Calzado as other one-time Orioles who inked minor league deals.
The Orioles also signed pitchers Winston Abreu and Orber Marino. Moreno, 28, missed last season because of injury, but he was 3-1 with a 3.37 ERA in 33 games with the Mets in 2004.
The team apparently is close to resigning catcher Geronimo Gil to a one-year deal. I'm not sure why, but that's the word coming out of the warehouse. Gil has a strong arm...and nothing else. He doesn't hit much, doesn't bring much to the clubhouse and doesn't show much interest in playing. At least that was the vibe last season, when a thumb injury kept him off the active roster - and most likely off Ottawa's roster - until September 2. He suffered the injury on June 4, went on the disabled list July 3 with a "sprain" and hung around the clubhouse for two months. Each day, manager Sam Perlozzo would check on Gil to see if he was ready to swing a bat and test the thumb. Each day, Gil would say, "Tomorrow."
Gil went 6-for-14 in his first seven games through April 18, but hit .162 the rest of the season. Pitchers posted a 3.70 ERA with Gil behind the plate, the lowest of any catcher, but that hardly seems reason enough to keep him with Ramon Hernandez having signed a four-year deal. I'd rather have Sal Fasano, who offered more pop and was the equivalent of having an extra coach on the field. He was a great teacher for the young pitchers, if they chose to listen. It was quite common to see Fasano approach a starter or reliever after a game to discuss a pitch sequence or some other element that might have influenced the outcome.
I also see that Kenny Lofton signed with the Dodgers, who apparently are intent on blowing up the entire 2005 roster. Three-fourths of their infield will be new, and now they'll have Lofton in the outfield. Start taking bets on which team signs him in 2007. Hint: It won't be the Dodgers.